Francisco Rodriguez has lived in the U.S for ten years and is a father of two children and baby on the way. He is a church goer, school committee member and is employed as a janitor at MIT. Rodriguez also owns his own carpet cleaning business. Rodriguez has never been convicted of any crimes and pays all of has taxes. Yet he is currently in the Trump administration’s crossfires. Since Trump’s inauguration, harsh deportation and unjust immigration practices have been implemented throughout the U.S. Many immigrants have been detained and taken away during their routine check-ins at the ICE. At his last check-in, Rodriguez was warned that there was a strong possibility of deportation during his next check in in June.
On June 13th, Francisco Rodriguez and his family anxiously entered the Immigrant and Customs Enforcement in Burlington, MA. But they were not alone. Outside ICE headquarters, a rally was held to support Rodriguez. People from various groups and organizations came together to fight this injustice. Groups like Jobs with Justice, Unitarian church groups, MIT student groups, members of Rodriguez’ union, SEIU32BJ, as well as others whose community has been enhanced by having Rodriguez be a part of it.
During this peaceful protest, signs were held, with messages like” You are not Alone.” Songs were sung, reflecting the spirit of solidarity so important to social justice movements, punctuated by booming chants meant to remind Rodriguez we were there and to warn those who would treat him as anything less than the human being he is.
While there was a plan for what to do in the event that Rodriguez was unjustly and illegally detained, that plan wasn’t necessary, because, fortunately, Rodriguez exited ICE with his family and lawyers by his side and a massive grin on his face. June 13th was a victory for Rodriguez – he would not return to the ICE until December…or at least that’s what they told him at ICE headquarters. Hours later, ICE changed the date of the check-in back to July and he must bring his travel documents. This statement insinuates that there is a significant chance Rodriguez could be detained on July 13th.
But this unfortunate turn of events has only strengthened our resolve to stand with Francisco. Jobs with Justice and the many other organizations present will not give up on Rodriguez. We will distribute more petitions, write more letters, make more calls. We will do whatever it takes to protect Francisco because he is a father, a son, a union member, a church-goer, and a vital member of his community.
And he is HERE TO STAY!
So remember, Francisco Rodriguez, you are not alone!
Jobs with Justice